Impacts of climate change on fish, relevant to the coastal and marine environment around the UK.

Peter Wright, John K. Pinnegar, Clive Fox

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

501 Downloads (Pure)


The appearance of warm-water (Lusitanian) fish species in UK waters
along with local declines of some cold-affinity species provides the
most compelling evidence of a climate-change effect.
• Distinguishing between climate-induced effects on fish distribution
and other drivers is a key challenge. Some past studies have not
accounted for geographic attachment and population structure in
studies of distributional shifts in species including Atlantic cod and
• The synchrony between winter–spring hatching fish larvae (e.g. cod,
sole, sandeel) and their plankton prey appears to be changing, with
consequences for recruitment. These changes reflect both changes in
the timing of fish reproduction as well as that of their plankton prey.
• Temperature changes are affecting fish growth and age at maturation.
Rising temperatures also decrease oxygen solubility and increase
metabolic costs and there is now considerable debate as to whether
this is limiting the maximum size that fish species can attain.
• Fin-fish larvae may be sensitive to expected changes in ocean
acidification, but species have shown a variety of responses in
experiments. For example, the use of end-of-century CO2
concentration under the IPCC RCP 8.5 scenario resulted in a doubling
of daily mortality rates in Atlantic cod larvae, but only had a minor
effect on European seabass and herring larvae.
Advances in both statistical and mechanistic models have increased our
ability to provide future projections for climate change impacts on fish.
Scientists have started to provide ‘forecasts’ for some species at the seasonal
to decadal time horizon, but there have been insufficient runs to yet be
confident in these projections.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyMarine Climate Change Impacts Partnership
Number of pages28
VolumeMCCIP Science Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Impacts of climate change on fish, relevant to the coastal and marine environment around the UK.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this